Santorini

It will leave you breathless. Take a jeep safari into the interior or cruise to Santorini’s smaller islands and volcanoes. If archaeology and history are your passions, visit the Akrotiri Village excavations. Or just sit in a café in spectacular Oia Village and watch the sunset. There is nowhere else on earth like Santorini, the Queen of the Cyclades.

Everything about this sculptural island is unique – its red earth, its white and red beaches…there are even white eggplants here, thanks to its volcanic subsoil. You’ll find more than 600 churches, cave settlements, classic whitewashed Cycladic houses that seem as if they’ve been scrubbed clean and bleached by the sun, traditional windmills, thrilling nightlife, and some of the warmest, most cheerful people in the Greek Islands. This is a mystical, primal, seductive place. You’ll feel it even as you approach the incredible caldera and come face-to-face with the island’s sun-baked vertical cliffs. An excursion anywhere in Santorini is like a visit to the sky. Its light and colours will dazzle you. During the summer, an intense wind, the Meltemia, blows across Santorini. Open your arms and surrender to it.

Highlights


Oia Village – Eye-To-Eye With A Magical Aegean Sunset

At the northern tip of Santorini, about 7 miles from Fira, is Oia, the island’s most scenic village. When you arrive, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into a three-dimensional postcard from Santorini. The sunsets here are world-famous. As sunset approaches, hundreds of visitors to the village gather, as if magnetised, to watch the finale of another perfect day in the Cyclades. Everyone grows silent as the sun slides gloriously into the Aegean. Once it does, the delighted crowd bursts into applause! The sunset from Oia is intoxicating, truly one of the most beautiful sights on earth.

Old Port of Fira – Funicular Railway & Donkeys

Your cruise ship anchors outside the old port of Fira. From here, tender boats take you to the small port, where you can wander around the shops offering traditional Santorini products. There are three ways to get from the old port to Fira – by the funicular, which has functioned since 1979; by donkey; or, if you have the stamina, ascending the 588 steps by foot!

Nea Kameni – An Active Volcano Up Close

Have you ever wanted to take a dip in a volcano? We’ll take you swimming at Paleo Kameni, one of the two islands between Santorini (Thira) and Thirassia. The other is Nea Kameni. The temperature of the sea at Paleo Kameni is 5° C higher than it is elsewhere in Santorini, and the water is a yellowish-green, thanks to the sulphur. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bring your waterproof camera if you have one.

Fira – The Vibrant Capital of Santorini

Fira, the capital of Santorini and its largest town, has it all – art galleries, award-winning restaurants, chic cafes, cozy bars, museums, nightclubs, traditional tavernas, unique shopping and, of course, an incredible view of the sunset from the town’s central square, Thetokopoulou Square. You’ll want to visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses Minoan finds from Akrotiri; the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, whose exhibits date from the Neolithic era through the 17th century BC; and the Megaro Ghyzi, a cultural centre where old prints, maps and photographs of Fira before and after the 1956 earthquake are on view. The bright, white Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Church of Ypapantis, was built in 1827. It is famed for its elegant rolling arches and its beautiful frescoes, which were painted by Santorini artist Christoforos Assimis, and should also be on your Fira itinerary.

Perissa Beach – Black Sand Beauty Finally, what’s a visit to a Cycladic island without spending some time at the beach? Perissa Beach, down the mountain from Profitis Ilias, is unlike any you’ve ever seen. The sand here, produced by ancient volcanic activity, is hot, fine, soft – and black! A former fishing village, Perissa has become one of the most popular beaches in Santorini. Rent a sun bed and an umbrella, then stroll along this incredible beach and swim in its pristine waters. We promise you’ll enjoy this wildly different take on a summer day at the beach.

Profitis Ilias – Monastery High Above Santorini

South of Fira is the hilltop village of Pyrgos and its incredible panoramic view. The capital of Santorini until the early 19th century, Pyrgos is loved by its many guests for its traditional houses built around the town’s Venetian castle, and its winding streets that seem to grip the hillside. Above Pyrgos, the beautiful Monastery of Profitis Ilias, built in the early 18th century, occupies the highest point on Santorini. The monastery is home to an important collection of rare ecclesiastical items, hand-written books and Byzantine icons. Take the path that begins at the village square in Pyrgos. The monastery is fascinating, and its vistas will make you swoon.

Akrotiri – Neolithic Village From The 5th Millennium BC

Less than 10 miles from Fira, the amazing ruins at Akrotiri, a Neolithic village from the middle of the 5th millennium BC, will take you deep into the ancient history of Santorini. Akrotiri was a bustling town but its inhabitants abandoned it before the Thira eruption. It’s a mystery archaeologists and historians are still trying to solve. The ash from the volcano buried the city, preserving many of its structures and some of its incredible frescoes. These advanced people built two- and three-storey homes and grew crops, and you will marvel at the remains of the houses, shops and workshops that surrounded the village square thousands of years ago. Could Akrotiri be the lost city of Atlantis? We’ll let you decide.

Excursions


Spectacular Oia Village Perched On The Caldera Rim

Duration: 3 hrs
  • Athinios
  • Profitis Ilias
  • Oia (Caldera Panoramic View)
  • Fira

Cruise to Santorini’s Islands and Volcanoes

Duration: 3 hrs
  • Paleo Kameni
  • Nea Kameni
  • Volcano Tour
  • Swimming (Hot Springs)
  • Fira

Off the Beaten Track – Jeep Safari Adventure

Duration: 3 hrs (Make sure to have your driver’s licence with you)
  • Cape Akrotiri
  • Vlychada
  • Perissa
  • Profitis Ilias Monastery
  • Kamari
  • Monolithos
  • Fira

Akrotiri Village Excavations

Duration: 3 hrs
  • Akrotiri
  • Fira